St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

Weekly Newsletter for the TWO weeks Friday, April 18, 2008 through Thursday, May 2, 2008



Please come and bring your friends and family to celebrate the Divine Liturgy on Lazarus Saturday (Matins 8:00 a.m., Liturgy 9:00 a.m.) and enjoy a Communion Breakfast at 10:15 a.m. offered by Selma Winstanley in memory of brother, Mitchell Mabardi.

Then, starting at 11:00 a.m.,  there will be a  Church Clean-Up in preparation for Pascha, coordinated by the Fellowship of St. John the Divine.  Please bring rags, cleaning supplies, small buckets, brown paper bags and irons for wax removal, etc. Come and lend a hand in preparing God's House for the Feast of Feasts. 

Also at 11:00 there will be a Choir Rehearsal in preparation for Pascha.

Confessions -  It is preferred that you make your confession before Holy Week. During Holy Week Fr. Antony is available for Confession before and after services from Monday to Wednesday evenings only,  or by appointment. Please note that no confessions will be heard on Great and Holy Saturday before the Rush Procession. 


Remember to return your Food For The Hungry boxes and canisters, filled with money, and pass them in at the Bengarri this Sunday, April 20.

There will be no Church School classes this Sunday.  Following the Liturgy  there will be the Procession with Palms (no lighted candles, please).  All who wish to do so are invited to join the procession; children are especially encouraged to participate.

This Sunday also we will be taking an Archdiocese  collection in support of the continued work of His Beatitude Patriarch IGNATIUS IV and our Mother Church . 

Palm Sunday Fish Dinner - The Fellowship of St. John the Divine is hosting its fourth annual fish dinner on Sunday, April 20, after Liturgy.  Instead of cooking, spend your Palm Sunday with your family and friends in Church.  A freewill donation will be collected, and we need lots of help with serving and cleanup. Thanks to the generosity of a parishioner, there will be plenty of food.



On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday evenings, April 20, 21 and 22, there will be a Bridegroom Matins service at 7:00 p.m.  On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, April 21, 22 and 23, Presanctified Liturgy will be celebrated at 7:00 a.m.


The evening service on Wednesday, April 23, is Holy Unction.  The service includes seven Epistles, seven Gospels, and seven prayers, all about oil and healing and forgiveness and the Holy Spirit.  Seven wicks are lit in the bowl of oil, and at the end each of us is anointed and given Holy Oil to take home.


On Thursday, April 24, Vesperal Liturgy is at 7:00 a.m.  The evening service begins at 6:45 p.m. with Washing of the Feet, followed at 7:00 p.m. by Twelve Gospels, in which we hear by candlelight the entire story of Christ's final teaching, passion, trial, walk to Golgotha , crucifixion and burial, from all four of the Gospel writers.


The Children's Retreat, beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, April 25, will include lessons, activities, crafts, "ask Father," and confessions (children only).  For children under age 7, accompanied by a parent, activities will be provided from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30. Older children will stay on for the Royal Hours at 1:00 p.m.  A goodwill offering of $5 per child will help defray activity expenses. If you can help with the retreat, or provide food or beverages, please call Trish at 781-641-0182 before Palm Sunday, or email her at

Royal Hours begins at 1:00 p.m., followed by Unnailing Vespers at 3:00 p.m., when the figure of Christ is removed from the Cross, where is was nailed Thursday during the Twelve Gospels service, and is laid in the tomb, or bier. 

Lamentations begins at 7:15 p.m. this year. During this service we will process with the Bier out of the church and down Massachusetts Avenue to Central Square , where we will meet worshippers from Ss. Constantine & Helen Greek Church carrying their bier, and join them for prayers and blessings before processing back to St. Mary.

Help Decorate The Church - Your help is needed on Great and Holy Friday at 9:00 a.m. and on Great and Holy Saturday after the Liturgy and Coffee Hour at 1:00 p.m.  We will be preparing and decorating the Bier and Church for Pascha.  Please come, stay and help.

Be sure to sign up and participate in the Vigil Friday night and into Saturday morning.  Volunteers, keeping vigil over the tomb of Christ, will take turns reading from the Bible throughout the night.


Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil begins at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday,  April 26. We commemorate Christ's triumph over evil and death, with the scattering of bay leaves and flowers.  This service includes fifteen lessons from the Old Testament, all prophesying the ultimate victory of God, and also includes Chrismation of our newest catechumens. The service will be followed by a Coffee Hour/Reception for the continued good health of the Kaldas Family and the parishioners of St. Mary, offered by Nadia & Bahig Kaldas.

Saturday evening and into Great and Holy Pascha, all our Lenten efforts and Holy Week observances culminate in the celebration of Christ's resurrection. The services begin with the Vigil/Rush Service at 10:00 p.m.,  followed by Resurrection Matins at 11:00 p.m.,  and Divine Liturgy at 12:00 midnight.  Paschal festivities, with plenty of food, will take place in the Church Hall after Liturgy.

On Sunday, April 27, at 11:00 a.m., there will be a joint service of Agape Vespers (Baouth) here at St. Mary's, followed by a reception in the hall.

We need readers of many languages -  if you would like to read the Gospel in a language other than English for the Agape Vespers, please e-mail Charlie Marge (  The reading is John 20:19-25.


PARKING IN CAMBRIDGE - The City of Cambridge has given our parishioners permission to park in areas marked "Residential Parking" during Holy Week; however, all parking meters must be fed as indicated.

NO FASTING - There is no fasting on Wednesday or Friday, not only during Bright Week, but for the whole forty days from Pascha until the Feast of the Ascension on June 5.  (This is the decision of the Holy Synod of the Church of Antioch .)  This cessation of fasting, however, is purely voluntary;  you may fast if you wish.

WOMEN'S CLUB THANKS - Thank you to all those who were so generous in supporting the Women's Club Pascha Bake Sale last Sunday.  All proceeds  benefit St. Mary Church School and its programs.

CPA NEEDED - The Orthodox Fellowship of All Saints of China (OFASC) is preparing to file an IRS Form 990-EZ with a deadline of May 15, and is looking for someone with experience in filling out the Form 990-EZ to provide guidance and review. OFASC was recognized as a 501(c)(3) organization in March 2007, and is currently a small corporation with income of less than $10,000 annually, and uses Quickbooks ( to keep track of its books.  If there's a CPA out there who can independently verify our Form 990-EZ on a pro bono basis, please contact Nelson Mitrophan Chin at 857-829-1570 or email 

FOOTLAMPS - The next lecture in the 2007-2008 Footlamps series, sponsored by the Diocesan Fellowship of St. John the Divine, will be Saturday, May 17, at St. John Church in Dedham.   The topic will be Are you using God's time wisely? with Don Khouri.   All are invited to attend. Vespers begin at 5:00 p.m. followed by the lecture and light refreshments.  Suggested donation $5.  There will be no Vespers at St. Mary's on that Saturday.

PARISH LIFE CONFERENCE - The 2008 Diocesan Parish Life Conference will be June 26 through 29, at the Mariott Hotel in Providence , RI . Keynote speaker will be Rev. Dr. Emanuel S. Chris.  To see the schedule of events and register for the conference, click on - you can register either online or on paper.  To register for the hotel call 866-807-2171. 



HOLY WEEK BOOKS - The church has a few Holy Week Service books for sale for $25 (saves on shipping).  Please e-mail Charlie Marge ( if you want your own copy.  First come, first served.

VONHOLZHAUSEN LECTURE - The Fellowship of St. John the Divine cordially invites you to the annual Fr. John vonHolzhausen dinner and lecture on Saturday, May 10, 2008, following Vespers. Dinner is at 6:00 p.m.; the lecture will begin at 7:00 p.m. This year's speaker is our own Brett Grainger, author of the recently published book,  In the World but Not of It: One Family's Militant Faith and the History of Fundamentalism in America.  The cost is your generous freewill donation; please RSVP to Melissa Nassiff at  or call 508-877-7483.  See for more information about the book.  Plan to come, and invite your friends!

ST. MARY'S 80th ANNIVERSARY - We will be celebrating our 80th anniversary the weekend of October 24 - 26, 2008.  If you are interested in working on the planning committee for this exciting event, please call Mary Winstanley O'Connor  at work:   617-523-1010  or  at home:  781-641-2967.


He was wrapped in swaddling clothes, but when he rose from the tomb he laid aside the shroud... He had "no form or comeliness" (Isaiah 53:2), but on the mountain he shone with a splendor more dazzling than the sun,  a foretaste of his future glory. ... He knew weariness, but he is rest for "all who labor and are heavy laden" (Matthew 11:28). He prays, but he answers prayers. He weeps, but wipes away tears. He asks where Lazarus has been laid, for he is man; but he raises him to life, for he is God. He is sold, dirt cheap, for thirty pieces of silver, but he redeems the world, at great cost, with his own blood.  ... He dies, but he brings to life, and by his own death destroys death. He is buried, but he rises again. He descends into hell, but rescues the souls imprisoned  there.

   - Gregory Nazianzen

When you hear that at that time the Lord freed the souls from hell and the regions of darkness and that He descended into hell and did an amazing work, do not think that this does not have any personal meaning for you. Man, indeed, can readily accept the evil one. Death has its grip on the children of Adam and their thoughts are imprisoned in darkness. And when you hear mention made of tombs, do not at once think only of visible ones. For your heart is a tomb and a sepulcher. When the prince of evil and his angels have built their nest there and have built roads and highways on which the powers of Satan walk about inside your mind and in your thoughts, then really, are you not a hell and a sepulcher and a tomb dead to God? ... But the Lord descends into the souls of those who seek Him. He goes into the depths of the hellish heart and there He commands death, saying, "Release those captive souls that seek after me, those that you hold by force in bondage." He breaks through the heavy stones that cover the soul. He opens the tombs. He truly raises to life the dead person and leads that captive soul forth out of the dark prison.

   - St. Macarius

The cross, inseparable from the descent into hell, the resurrection, and the ascension to the right hand of the Father, is seen as fundamentally life-giving.  Its dimensions make of Christ the truly cosmic Man who transfigures the universe:  "Henceforward all is filled with light, the heavens, the earth and even hell," according to the Easter liturgy in the Byzantine rite.  To be crucified in Christ is to die to one's own death in order to enter into the sacrifice that restores wholeness, and to understand, as St. Paul says, "the breadth and length and height and depth" of love (Ephesians 3:18-19).

   - Olivier Clément, The Roots of Christian Mysticism

What was Christ's love like? Did it withhold anything? Did it take note of or measure its spiritual gifts? What did it regret, where was it ever stingy? Christ's humanity was spit upon, struck, crucified. Christ's Divinity was fully incarnate to the end in his spit-upon, battered, degraded and crucified Humanity. The Cross - an instrument of shameful death - became a symbol of self-denying love for the world.

   - Mother Maria Skobtsova  


Saturday, April 19, Lazarus Saturday: Matins 8:00 a.m., Divine Liturgy 9:00 a.m., Communion Breakfast 10:15 a.m., Church Clean-Up and Choir Rehearsal 11:00 a.m.;  Great Vespers 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, April 20, Palm Sunday:  Orthros  8:45 a.m., Divine Liturgy 10:00 a.m.. followed by Palm Sunday Fish Dinner sponsored by FSJD;  Bridegroom Matins 7 p.m.

SCRIPTURE READINGS for April 20, Palm Sunday:

Epistle:  St. Paul 's Letter to the Philippians 4:4-9  The Lord is at hand. Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Gospel: John 12:1-18  Six days before Passover, Jesus came to Bethany , where Lazaros was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. ... When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came, not only on account of Jesus but also to see Lazaros, whom he had raised from the dead. ... The next day a great crowd who had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem . So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!"

Holy Monday, April 21: Presanctified Liturgy 7:00 a.m.; Bridegroom Matins 7:00 p.m.

Holy Tuesday, April 22: Presanctified Liturgy 7:00 a.m.; Bridegroom Matins 7:00 p.m.

Holy Wednesday, April 23: Presanctified Liturgy 7:00 a.m.; Holy Unction 7:00 p.m.

Holy Thursday, April 24:  Vesperal Liturgy 7:00 a.m.;  Washing of the Feet 6:45 p.m. and 12 Gospels 7:00 p.m.

Holy Friday, April 25: Children's Retreat 10:00 a.m.;  Royal Hours 1:00 p.m.;  Unnailing Vespers 3:00 p.m.; Lamentations 7:15 p.m. followed by Procession to Central Square

Holy Saturday, April 26: Vesperal Liturgy 9:00 a.m.

Saturday-Sunday, April 26-27:  Great and Holy Pascha Vigil/Rush Service 10:00 p.m.; Resurrection Matins 11:00 p.m.; Divine Liturgy 12:00 midnightPaschal food and festivities in the church hall following

Sunday, April 27:  Joint Agape Vespers (Baouth) 11:00 a.m.; Reception following


Saturday, May 3:  Great Vespers 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 4:  Orthros  8:45 a.m., Divine Liturgy 10:00 a.m.

Saturday, May 10: Great Vespers 5:00 p.m., followed by FSJD dinner; Fr. John vonHolzhausen lecture 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 18:  Church School Graduation and Picnic

Thursday, June 5:  Feast of the Ascension of our Lord.  Wednesday & Friday fasting resumes

Sunday, June 15:  Feast of Pentecost

Thursday-Sunday, June 26-29: Parish Life Conference



Two to four volunteers help each week in the food pantry at St. Paul 's RC Church in Harvard Square , Saturday mornings from 9:30-11:45.  If you are willing to help, contact Christian Alcala at or (617) 876-5684.

April 19:  Lazarus Saturday - no St. Mary volunteers

April 26: Holy Saturday - no St. Mary volunteers


The Epistle each Sunday is read by a member of the congregation, and six members of the congregation hold the cloth and Holy Bread baskets during Communion.  If you would like to help with these services,  please contact Jeff Wasilko at or 781-820-0882.

April 20


To sign up for an available Sunday, please put your name on the signup sheet on the bulletin board outside the Hall or call Marilyn in the Office 617-547-1234 and she'll write your name in.

April 20:  FSJD Palm Sunday Fish Dinner